Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Nationally Scarce A

Local Status: Rare and very local resident.

Local Record: Grade 3   See here for explanation

Flight time: Jun-Aug.

Forewing: 12mm.

Foodplant: Prickly Saltwort and Orache.

IMPORTANT - Please note that the maps and accounts are provisional, subject to change and further update.  The whole dataset still needs to go through the final verification process and it is likely that a very small number of records will not satisfy the present requirements and there are other records that have not been formally submitted.  The information is for guidance only.

Record breakdown:

Year first recorded187219961872
Year last recorded200919972009
Number of records14334
Number of individuals12228
Unique positions5316
Unique locations6318
Adult records10326
Immature records204

For the region, we have a total of 34 records from 18 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1872.


1464 Gymnancyla canella 04 larva on Salsola kali
© Jenny Seawright
1464 Gymnancyla canella 03 web on Salsola kali
© Jenny Seawright
1464 Gymnancyla canella 02
© Martin Cade, 30 Jun 2009
1464 Gymnancyla canella 01
© Martin Cade, 5 Aug 2012

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A rare and declining species located on the sandy coasts of south-east England, and historically on the Lincolnshire coast, the larva feeding on prickly saltwort (Salsola kali). In Dorset, old records indicate that colonies were established on the Chesil in the nineteenth century: Chesil Beach, two adults (J Dale), adult in August 1888 (C Dale), larvae on prickly saltwort (N Richardson). However, prickly saltwort, once widespread on beaches between Charmouth and Canford Cliffs, began to decline from the 1950s, and has now all but disappeared. Recent surveys revealed some fifty plants at Shell Bay and a few more on Furzey Island, although there have been no recent records: South Haven Saltings, larva on 14 September 1935 (Captain C Diver). It also used to grow in plenty between Mudeford and Highcliffe a hundred years ago, but again, relentless trampling of the sandy beaches there and at Hengistbury Head every year has destroyed this fragile habitat; just one plant was noted at Hengistbury following a survey in 1991.

Given the virtual absence of prickly saltwort in Dorset, the following light trap records are suspected immigrants. In each case east to south-easterly airflows indicate a north France or Low Countries source: West Bexington, on 21 July 2006 (R Eden), Portland, on 27 July 2001, five between 17 July 2006 and 27 July 2006 (M Cade), Weymouth, two on 20 July 2006 (Dr P Sterling), Iford, on 19 August 1996, and Hengistbury Head, on 11 June 1997 (M Jeffes).

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